MODE Magazine
A Matter of Taste
Great Dining Reviews
By Dawn & Andy Eckenrode

This month’s epicurean adventure found us venturing, for the first time, to Tavern on the Hill, a steak and seafood house in Enola. And yes, it really is on a hill. Take 11&15 North from Harrisburg, past the town of West Fairview. You will see their sign on the left. Just go up the hill, and just down the road to the left, you will see the Mediterranean-style, white building with a green awning. This restaurant is certainly a popular Harrisburg favorite, and you pretty much need to make reservations if you intend to dine at prime time. Instead of the usual troop of six, this time it was just the two of us, so we couldn’t sample the majority of the menu like we usually do!

 

The interior of the restaurant is very pleasing to the eye, done mainly in white and not overly-adorned with artwork, mirrors, and candle-lamps. We were seated and our server appeared right away to take our drink orders.

From appetizer, my companion and I decided to share the smoked trout. It was one of the moderate selection of cold appetizers listed on the menu; there were several hot appetizers listed, also. It was ample for two, served with cream cheese, thinly sliced red onions, and capers, atop toast. It was quite good; it would be rather filling for one person, alone.

As the first course, I selected the Cream of Wild Mushroom soup, listed as a special for the evening, while my companion picked the Roasted Garlic soup from the menu. I was quite thrilled with the mushroom soup; it was tasty and creamy, just what I had hoped for. As for the Roasted Garlic soup, it was quite a bit like a French onion soup in taste, but somewhat thicker in consistency, with a not overly pronounced flavor of the roasted garlic.

 

For my meal, I picked the rack of lamb done in a Mediterranean style. The menu had two lamb choices; the other rack of lamb listed was the more traditional style, with the mint jelly. My companion picked the fresh grilled tuna, also under the Mediterranean offerings. With the dinners, one had choice of salad (garden style or Greek) and another side. I chose the ‘Tavern potatoes’ which were roasted in broth, while my companion picked linguine. The rack of lamb was a prodigious thing: an entire rack of at least eight (or was it nine?) ribs, encrusted with sundried tomato & feta, all atop a very generous serving of freshly cooked spinach. I was just thinking about how I was going to get through that and have any room, at all, for dessert, when I looked at my companion’s plate, which was no less astounding. Well, to make a large story short, the lamb was lovely, and so was the fresh tuna steak. I found the potatoes to be average, but I had little room to worry about them, anyway. As we ate our dinners, I spied around at the meals being delivered to the other happy diners and think I detected a trend - very generous portion sizes. I saw an absolutely lovely prime rib that, although I didn’t get to taste, I would have wagered was superb.

 

Well, we made it through dinner well enough, and had a good bit of both meals put ‘to go’, as I asked to see the dessert tray. I had earlier spied a chocolate pecan pie that, unfortunately, had already departed the premises. There were three cheesecake choices, a pumpkin cranberry pie, a carrot cake, a Tiramisu pie, two Greek pastries, a Bailey’s Irish Creme cake, and a rice pudding. We decided to share the Tiramisu pie over a cup of coffee. The pie was quite good; we chose it, as it looked like the lightest of the dessert offerings.

If you plan to go to Tavern on the Hill, bring your appetite. With the exception of the four or so Mediterranean-style entrees, the majority of the menu was your fairly straightforward steak and seafood fare. Their specialty is steaks, of which there were several choices. Overall, the food was consistently good, perhaps a bit pricey, and perhaps a bit too generous, in regards to portion size, but if you are searching for an elegant, pleasant atmosphere, a little out of the city, this should prove to be an enjoyable evening for you, and for your dog, later.